Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Finding your Zen....

I have heard that somewhere and growing up with my mom very immersed in martial arts, she has a couple of black belts in different styles, the whole zen, yin and yang, etc was a daily thing. :0)

My husband told me a couple months ago to find my zen and it is a lot harder than you think.  I have had a very rough year and August, September and some of October have been especially rough, so I was on maintenance for a few months. Doing what needed to be done and barely keeping up with everything else. Going thru the  motions of living.

With maintenance mode you set aside non essentials things, for me it was cheese making, butter making, bread making, hanging clothing on the line etc. Instead I bought those already made or used the dryer. I kept things moving along at the pace that I could for the time being.

And the last couple weeks I have felt more myself again, so last week I made a batch of cheddar cheese, this week cheese again, and some butter this morning, last and this week I have made ricotta cheese with the left over whey. Swinging back into life is not always easy, living a maintenance schedule is OK for a little while. But then things start to show like dust on ceiling fans....:)
Taking that time to recoup, build your reserves back up I think is always good. So now I am getting slowing back into life, enjoying it, finding my zen.
Over the weekend my dad, the kids, and I dug around some antique shops. One was a junk shop, when you drive by you think nothing good will be there, but the treasures inside are amazing and very unique. Ashley found a lovely green bowl to match the green glasses she found at a yard sale. I told her to offer him a lower price and he took it, she was so nervous to speak to him, but he was so nice to her and smiled.

At another antique mall we went to I found this cute little pot(above) the orange enamel, and uniqueness of it caught me. Also the tea pot, most on here know I love blues and greens, so this pot was sitting right next to the enamel one like they were waiting together for me to take them home. I also found a enamel pot with a inner colander pot, but didn't get a picture. 

The pitcher of cream is part of a new food processor I bought for my birthday. My parents gave me money and this is what I needed, I use it to make so many things and mine died after many years of service. 

Below is the picture of the box. After much thought and research I decided on this one, instead of the traditional looking food processor. It made butter this morning perfectly. Now I did think hard about not getting an electric gadget and normally I try to keep things simple, I am not a gadget person. And I have done the whole off grid everything by hand thing, and I mean everything. But sometimes different seasons of life a gadget now and then is a good thing.  

Cheese making yesterday, cut curds resting. The process is so easy and so basic. Because of making cheese we have cut way back on how much we eat of it as well as butter. It takes time to age a month, I make it weekly with fresh milk, add only a culture and rennet no preservatives or coloring. I also make sour cream, yogurt, buttermilk, and probably a soft cheese for cream cheese this week for enchiladas. Again because I make these items we have cut our consumption of it down a lot, my family love these products so I try to make sure they have a freshest and best I can give them. And they are cultured giving us natural live cultures to help us in assimilating the goods things in them.

A gallon of whey and the first pressing of the salted finished curds. Later I added 20 lbs totaling 30 lbs the sit overnight. This morning I will take it out and let it air dry before sealing in an airtight bag to age for a month in the refrigerator. 

There was another half gallon whey in a pan on the stove. Which now as well as the above are being turned into ricotta, I'm thinking maybe a veggie lasagna tonight.

I have also been thinking a lot of Christmas, since we keep it very simple there, 3 gifts each for the kiddos. I am looking at making a quilt for Wyatt, some skirts and tops for Ashley, something for hubby, (he reads this so I won't say), and other goodies to mail to my parents. Homemade goodness that I enjoy so much.

Seasons of life go up and down, things revolve, change, the kaleidoscope of life is different everyday and finding that balance learning to let go and do what is needed can be hard. To not make yourself feel guilty for not being able to do what you normally do is hard. But learning to roll with the waves of your life and others so when the storms come, and they will, you are not buffeted about to much causing damage.

Good luck in finding your Zen...




  1. Dear Erika,

    Lovely finds, my dear! I know what you mean about finding your zen; I think the trick is in learning that down times aren't the enemy, they are just our spirit's way of letting us know that it needs a break. :)

    I've been trying to get back in the swing of things, too, and indeed there are times for food processors and high-speed blenders, and times for non-electric helpers, aren't there? I'm addicted to my smoothies, and have to look into how to hook up my blender to a bicycle to power it, like the Dervaes family does.



  2. I know what you mean! Having a time to step back is so important. We are going through that as the seasons are changing. We are stepping back and simplifying once again. It is a blessing in the ebbs and flows of life. I pray you are finding your zen and enjoying your time! Lots of love from Utah ~

  3. Oh Erika, like you, this year, especially the past months have been so hard. To accept, to live, to be!

    But through it all, I have seen the growth in my faith and that of my children. My husband has seen my changes, and he is now struggling, but it all boils down to allowing Him to show us and guide us.

    Like you, I took a step back from the 'simple life' because I needed regrouping. I needed to find my balance and to accept myself with all my quirks and inadequacies.

    Now, in the eve of my daughter's surgery, I feel at peace with who I am and look back at the trials with a thankful heart.

    It is good to read your words. It is good that you have found your 'zen'. I call it balance :)

    Love you my friend,



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